What If...?/ Scotland

Ideas for a better place.


7N Architect’s What if…?/Scotland initiative, which explores the theme of re-engaging the civic role of architects and designers, is being exhibited at V&A Dundee during 2021.

It was originally due to be staged in Venice in 2020 as part of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, before being curtailed by the pandemic. What if…? / Scotland responds to the Biennale’s theme ‘How will we live together?’, by asking citizens from across Scotland to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the places they call home.

At the start of 2020 7N paired 25 people from 5 places across Scotland with 25 designers, architects, and artists – to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the place where they live. The architects and designers then used these wishes to explore imaginative ideas in response to the challenges that these communities are facing.

The stories, wishes and ideas from the rich and varied landscapes of rural and urban Scotland are presented in an immersive environment designed for reflection and inspiration. The exhibition also includes a series of short films by Bash Art Creative which are available online for international audiences to engage with. Visitors to the exhibition at V&A Dundee are also invited to add their own wish for the place they call home to a growing ‘Cloud of Dreams’ and be part of a major public artwork at the centre of the exhibition.

As we emerge from a long period of lockdown the notion of people in Scotland’s communities coming together to plan for a better future has never been more important. The What If? initiative is about making these conversations as direct and inspiring as they can be and re-engaging the civic role of architecture.

Architecture unplugged …

Watch the films at scotlandandvenice.com

Civic empowerment
Scotland & Venice, A&DS
Exhibition at V&A Dundee
Exhibition, live
Years Active:
2019 - 2021
O Street, Bash Art Creative, Buro Happold, Image Credits: Bash Art Creative, Zac + Zac Photography, Alan Richardson
Edinburgh Architectural Association 2021 Ambassador Award
Scottish Design Awards 2022 - Design For Good - Winner
25 people from 5 places across Scotland were paired with 25 designers, architects, and artists – to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the place where they live.
<div style="padding:56.25% 0 0 0;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/554211122?h=3912db0d86&amp;badge=0&amp;autopause=0&amp;player_id=0&amp;app_id=58479" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" title="What if...? /Scotland: Exhibition Walk Through"></iframe></div><script src="https://player.vimeo.com/api/player.js"></script>
Each architect/designer was challenged to come up with an idea which could realise the wishes of the citizens for the future of their place.
A series of 5 films documents the workshops undertaken in Annan, Elgin, Paisley, Wester Hailes and Lerwick.